WORLD REFUGEE DAY
On World Refugee Day, the Women’s Regional Network expresses our deep concern about the exponential increase in the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Asia, a large majority of whom are women and girls. They are being displaced in unprecedented numbers due to conflict, political upheaval, militarization, predatory development supported by government policies and private projects, land grabs and natural disaster.
We believe there must be a shared humanitarian, security, and political response to the crisis and concerted efforts to deliver justice, maintain peace and comprehensively address the causes of forced displacement.
Such a response must address and redress the adverse consequences of internal displacement on women and girls, based on their lived experiences and recognizing their agency; on internationally recognized human rights especially the right to equality, and on constitutional guarantees within each state; and with their full participation in all decisions that are made with regard to their lives.
The participants of the Women’s Regional Network Summit on Forced Displacement and Gender in South Asia, representing perspectives and experiences from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, other South Asian countries and across the world, assembled in Kuala Lumpur on 27 February – 1 March 2019, to discuss human rights and humanitarian issues related to and to find durable solutions for the plight, rights and needs of forcibly displaced persons in our region and beyond.
At the close of the Kuala Lumpur Summit, we formulated a Call for Action which we are releasing on the occasion of World Refugee Day, 2019 which details the following Action Points.
1. The principles that inform this Call for Action, must form the basis of any gender-sensitive policy and action on forced displacement, namely to:
a) . commit to conflict prevention, peaceful conflict resolution and to abjure forced displacement as a strategy to drive conflict;
b) . ensure women’s qualitative participation in every stage of the displacement cycle, such that they are visible and heard in every forum and participate equally in making all decisions that affect their lives;
c) . adopt a gender analysis of existing legal frameworks, policies, program interventions, and investments, which is critical to ensure justice for women and girls, as well as to integrate a gender perspective into the formulation of policies and programs;
d) . formulate strong and adaptable legal frameworks, addressing the issues faced by women and girls, and implement the same in a gender-equal manner, in order to meet the complex economic, social, and political dynamics that drive displacement; and
e) address impunity and enforce accountability at every stage of the displacement process, in particular, for the ongoing epidemic of rape and other forms of and sexual and gender-based violence.
2. Legal and policy frameworks must be formulated and implemented with a gender lens.
3. Women must be qualitatively engaged in every process of policy formulation and implementation, and speak for themselves.
4. Humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons must meet the holistic needs of women and girls, founded upon a rights-based approach.
5. The security of internally displaced women and women refugees must be prioritized.
6. Legal discrimination and impunity for violations of human rights of women affected by forced displacement must end.
7. Governments in South Asia must establish, adopt and implement a regional system of response to forced displacement in order to find a durable solution, including protection against repatriation to countries that remain unsafe for the displaced, and issuance of a regional visa to facilitate and enhance cross-border exchanges and meetings.
You can read and download the full Call for Action here on our website.
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